More Dolby Atmos Components Being Readied – Denon and Marantz will join the new components coming out having decoding of Dolby Atmos surround, along with Onkyo/Integra and Pioneer, already announced. Denon will have two 9.1 channel AVRs, and Marantz will have one 9.1 channel and one 11 channel model models. The top Denon and the Marantz preamp/processor will drive a 7.1.4 configuration with the addition of another two-channel amp. Dolby Atmos can use a 9.1.2 configuration including four in-ceiling speakers, but can be used with two Atmos front speakers and two Atmos-enabled surround speakers. The special speakers have a separate height driver, driven by a separate amp channel. Consumers could also keep their existing 5.1 system and add four height-speaker modules—each one placed on top of the existing speakers or on the wail above them.
TCL Lowers UHD TV Prices Again – The Chinese company was the first to have a UHD TV for under $1000, and now offers five UHD models, starting at a 40-inch for $499, thru an 85-inch at $7,999. All have HDMI 2.0 inputs. They have 120Hz refresh rates, ultra-thin designs, proprietary up-conversion technology, and display more than a billion colors. Onboard sound uses Dolby Digital Surround. The 55- and 65-inch models have Wi-Fi and instant access to movies, TV shows, music, sports and news thru various apps.
Broadway Star Elaine Stritch Dies – Last Thursday the brassy, gravelly-voiced actress of stage and screen died at age 89. Her big personality was matched by her big talent; New York City named her one of its Living Landmarks in 2003. Stephen Sondheim’s song “The Ladies Who Lunch” became her signature song when she sang it on Broadway in 1971. Her 2002 autobiographical one-woman show Elaine Stritch at Liberty won the special theatrical event Tony, and there was a recent documentary feature on her legendary career.
The Ultimate in Home Theaters – Home theater designer Theo Kalomirakis invited press, AV integrators and customers to the unveiling of his private HT in Brooklyn. Brands who participated in the project include Kaleidescape, Digital Projection, Stewart Filmscreen, California Audio Technologies, SH Acoustics, Crestron, and Prima Cinema. Their idea is to show how to achieve the ultimate cinematic experience in the comfort and intimacy of your home.
New External Blu-ray Drive with 7.1 Audio – Instead of having to purchase separately both a better sound card and a Blu-ray drive for your computer, you can can now get both in one convenient package from Asus at $199. It’s definitely aimed at audio bugs and dubbed the Blu-ray Prime. It is a USB 3.0 device with a 7.1 channel output and uses the Asus Zonar sound card, Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC and C-Media CM6631A audio processor. It also has a 600-ohm headphone amp, and will be available in Q4 of this year.